Lucky Jim By Kingsley Amis And The Edible Woman By Margaret Atwood

1448 words - 6 pages

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis and The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

The adolescent years are often associated with turbulence, illusion,
and self-discovery; however, Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim and Margaret
Atwood’s The Edible Woman demonstrate that more often than not, the
twenties possess these qualities to a greater extent than
adolescence. The age period of the twenties often consists of
relationships, employment and self issues and using the premise of
these uncertain times, Amis and Atwood effectively satire various
societal systems. Moreover, Amis and Atwood both implement the use of
the foil, a character who, by contrast with another character,
accentuates that character’s distinctive characteristics. In
particular, each author uses the protagonist’s two love interests as
foils to each other not only for the purpose of character contrast,
but also, to further the development of each novel. {Thus, - omit?}
Amis and Atwood use Margaret and Christine, and Peter and Duncan,
respectively as foils to each other to fully develop and promote the
growth of their respective protagonists, Jim and Marian; to develop
prevailing themes in each novel; and to illustrate the escape of the
protagonist from the trappings of a system.

Amis and Atwood both use the love interests of the protagonist as
foils to facilitate the development and maturation of Jim and Marian
respectively. In fact, both protagonists have opposing outward and
inward attributes which finally merge towards the end of the novel to
signify the maturation of the protagonist. In Lucky Jim, Amis
portrays Jim’s outward characteristics as meek and appeasing towards
antagonist individuals; however, Amis illustrates Jim’s inward
character as comical and often furious from the insults of others.
For example, when Jim first meets Christine with Margaret, he states
that he “wanted to laugh at this…It always amused him to hear girls
(men never did it) refer to ‘Uncle,’ ‘Daddy,’ and so on, as if there
were only one uncle or Daddy in the world” (Amis 50). Thus, Jim was
inwardly laughing at Christine’s mannerisms and yet, when Carol
Goldsmith asks him “What’s the joke?,” Jim replies “Oh, nothing” (Amis
50). Thus, Amis uses Christine, one of Jim’s love interests who acts
as a foil to Margaret, as a tool to show Jim’s disparity between his
outward and inward character. However, towards the climax of Lucky
Jim, Jim becomes furious with Bertrand Welch for telling Jim to stay
away from Christine and for the first time, Jim reconciles his thought
and his action. “The bloody old towser-faced boot-faced totem-pole on
a crap reservation,’ Dixon thought. ‘You bloody old towser-faced
boot-faced totem pole on a crap reservation,’ he said” (Amis 209).
This signifies the maturation of Jim’s character and the union of his
outward and inward personage. Moreover, this character growth would
never have occurred without the use of a foil because without the
contrast of...

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